Orpheus Nine - Transcendental Circus - 2017


“... a wonderful debut album ...”


For me it seems like that this American and New Jersey based band Orpheus Nine emerged from nowhere. Just found this remarkable debut album entitled “Transcendental Circus” in my postbox last month. This talented quartet brings fresh sounding progressive rock that is inspired by the great Symphonic Rock bands of the seventies and eighties. For this album the band comes up with 16 well crafted compositions. But six of them are woven into a beautiful suite of almost 22 minutes. I promise that you will be surprised by the musical skills and the quality of this fine debut album.


Jason Kresge - keyboards, lead vocals; Matt Ullestad - guitars; Tony Ronda - bass, backing vocals; Mark DeGregory - drums, percussion, backing vocals


The album opens with a beautiful crafted classical piano piece called “Of Zygotes And Grace Notes” that flows via a synth part into the second track “Eightfold Way”. Immediately you will be impressed by the keyboard work of Jason Kresge. His keyboards plays an important role in the music of Orpheus Nine. But the band is a tight unit of skilled musicians and all the compositions are credited as group compositions. “Fetish” opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar intro and lovely vocal parts before the electric guitars and synths are joining in on a bed of a steady rhythm section. This songs develops into a ┬ábeautiful ballad like song with melodic vocal lines and a great synth solo in the end. The song also has some influences from Eastern music. I would also mention the fine bass lines and the great drumming. Just when I had a the name of a famous Canadian progressive rock formation in my mind the band comes with the composition “Hand Of Make-Believe” which has a lot of Rush influences especially in the first part. But these influences are melted together with their own musical finds. The band slows down a little bit with the song “No Illusions”. In this piece you can hear fine Hammond organ parts and even elements of jazz music. The next song “Age Of Rhyme And Reason” is again an uptempo song with aggressive electric guitar parts and flashy synthesizer parts. Then it is time for the long title track “Transcendental Circus” which is a suite with a duration of almost 22 minutes. It is divided into the six parts “Barcarolle Of Bedlam”, “Hallowed Playground”, “Intergalactic Clown Festival”, “Swimming In Our Four O’clock Tea”, “Not Within The Memory Of Elephants” and “Freak Tent Mausoleum”. This long suite is absolutely one of the highlight of this remarkable debut album. You can find great instrumental parts in this suite. In the second part “Hallowed Playground” for instant you find a lovely melodic synth part. And in the parts four and five “Swimming In Our Four O’clock Tea” and “Not Within The Memory Of Elephants” you can find all kinds of great guitar and keyboard parts. And the lovers of organ and freaking synth solo’s are served to their liking. Another personal highlight of the album is the song “Sandcastles” which includes delicate piano playing, nice vocal parts and has some classical influences. The album closes with the track “The Fall Of The House Of Keys”. Almost 11 minutes with beautiful keyboard orchestrations, ┬ádelicate and melodic synth parts and freaky guitar and organ solo’s. It is a worthy ending of a great debut album.


Out of the blue the American band Orpheus Nine surprised me with a wonderful debut album entitled “Transcendental Circus”. I am especially impressed by keyboard player Jason Kresge but all the members are showing their fine musical skills on this album. The music is diverse and sounds fresh and original. Of course there are some influences from other bands. The band Rush shines through some of the music. Just listen to the composition “Hand Of Make-Believe”. And in some acoustic guitar parts you find some influences from Genesis. But in overall the band comes with original ideas that are packed in well crafted compositions. Just have a listen to this album, you won’t be disappointed. With bands like Orpheus Nine the future of Prog is guaranteed. Recommended by progVisions.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - March 2018 -   - Prog Cabin Records